Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Once in Place, a Democracy's Programs Only Grow

This is a small, quaint anti-FDR advertisement from 1936. The ad is about Social Security. It was a simple 1% deduction then, with the prospects of going "as high as 4%". The money was never guaranteed to get back to you as Congress may appropriate it for other uses. There was no guarantee. No lockbox to borrow from Al Gore. Whether you believe the government or you believe outside observers, Social Security will go broke within your lifetime. Even before it goes broke, it will hit triggers due to deficits that will cut benefits instantaneously. You will not get paid what you expected. These warnings in 1936 were not dire enough. The warnings were written by men who did not understand the nature of their enemy or of the game they played.

If only it went as high as 4%!
Did this work in 1936? No. FDR was reelected with a higher % of popular vote (60%) and picked up a few extra states, losing only Maine and Vermont. The right tried to warn people, but the people made their choice. Buying votes with farm reform, works projects and "doing something" all worked. Amity Shlaes book "The Forgotten Man" describes how FDR's administration is the start of mobilizing and paying off constituencies as well as the idea that the government is responsible for a healthy economy. Hoover bought into that second part as well, and some of the back and forth as the administrations transitioned reveal just how despicable FDR and his cronies were. They wanted things as awful as possible for their first 100 days of legislative activity to fix the problem in their preferred manner to secure future power.

We are still playing by this gameplan. All programs have a constituency whether low end section 8 leeches or GE's tax allowances and government help for "green" engine contracts when GE has never physically made the energy saving engine. The right's failure to realize the left sees politics as life and more power as the only goal, while they view politics as part of life. They could not dream of scaring voters enough about Social Security or see how FDR's gang had transformed the idea of voting. The progressives of FDR's era were the American children who put into play what Jacques Barzun called the great switch. Liberals using the means of the state for power, control and change rather than liberals wishing for more freedom from government control. The above 1936 advertisement did not go far enough. If honest, it would have stated how once you let the government take a hold of you for 1%, you are a dependent upon them. Once the government makes a move for 1%, 4% is not far, and incrementally they keep grabbing 1% more. Barzun and the old Republicans of the 1930s all miss that this is only possible when operating in a democracy.

Sounds about right


peterike said...

Indeed, FDR and his little cabal (many Jews, btw) were among the worst things that ever happened to America. You know, as a rough rule of thumb you can tell how terrible a President was by the inverse of their hagiography.

The worst American President ever, blood thirsty Abe Lincoln, is relentlessly promoted as the best ever. Other "great" Presidents like FDR and Wilson, were ghastly blots on the nation. LBJ, the wrecker of the social fabric, is lionized. JFK, who wasn't all that bad, is a unique case because of the assassination. But he's remembered now for civil rights only, not anything useful he actually did or tried to do (like come up with a monetary system to counter the Federal Reserve, which might be what got him killed).

Look at how Lincoln has totally overtaken George Washington -- probably the greatest American ever -- in the minds of Americans. Jefferson is steadily eroding into "that guy that had sex with slaves."

Truly excellent Presidents like Harding and Coolidge and Taft are simply ignored. The dastardly Clinton, progenitor of vast damage to the nation, is of course a rock star.

What we need today is another Andrew Jackson.

peterike said...

Just noticed on the wagon it says "Young pinkoes from Columbia and Harvard."

Some things never change!

Mitto said...

Can you give an attribution for the bottom cartoon? I can read "Chicago Tribune" at the bottom. What is the year though?

Son of Brock Landers said...

Mitto - 1934

Toddy Cat said...

Yeah, Roosevelt was slime, at a personal level as well as his politics, and that point about inverse hagiography is pretty dead-on. I mean, Eisenhower was probably the best president between 1928 and 1980, and look at how historians treat him. Ike was also the last president to even attempt to enforce our immigration laws, in "Operation Wetback". And yeah, as liberal presidents go, Kennedy wasn't bad (he also didn't give a shit about civil rights, was buddies with Joe McCarthy, and hated commies. Johnny, we hardly knew ye!)

nikcrit said...

You will not get paid what you expected.

I'm not a hard proponent, for or against ---- but as to your statement quoted above?
They've beenn saying that every year since the mid 70s: and unless you get into it on a doctoral dissertation level, it's f-ing impossible to know the truth, cuz there're just as many 'learned' studies saying S.S. has a surplus as there are those claiming it's going bankrupt.
Best to build your pile with the notion that S.S.. doesn't exist, of course.